Georges’ honor is well-deserved

Published 9:24 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

Ben and Elizabeth “Libba” George, former publishers of The Demopolis Times, will be inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor this fall.
I came into the picture long after the Georges and was never afforded the opportunity to meet them. However, if your legacy is truly set by what you leave behind, the high-character nature of their children and grandchildren assures me they were remarkable people.
The Georges will be the first husband-wife team inducted into the Hall of Honor at the same time. The couple published The Demopolis Times from 1936 to 1967, though the paper had been in Mrs. George’s family for many years.
I did some research on the Georges several months ago for a letter I wrote to Auburn University. What I found were two people richly invested in their community.
Ben George started work at the paper in 1930 and became publisher in 1936. He served as president of the Alabama Press Association in 1956. He was active in the Demopolis community, serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the Demopolis City board of education.
After leaving the newspaper, Mr. George continued to run a small printing operation.
Libba worked at the paper for more than five decades, and was also active in community affairs. She was president of the Demopolis PTA, was a Sunday school teacher at the First Methodist Church for more than 60 years, and was a volunteer tutor for the dyslexia program. She was also the founder of the Bargain Box.
Bo Bolton, a former publisher of the Times, did most of the heavy lifting to see that the Georges were honored for their contributions to the newspaper business in Alabama.
I’m not sure he could have picked two more deserving people. Their impact on the city of Demopolis and its people is obvious.
A newspaper is a tool used by the communities they serve in building a strong foundation. That happens through editorial pieces pointing out both the right and unjust. It happens through a pat on the back or a kick in the rear when warranted. It happens through birthday announcements, wedding photos, recipe exchanges and sharing in the good and bad news with your friends and neighbors.
The Georges understood that there is no greater instrument for progress than an informed community.
I follow in their footsteps more than 40 years after the Georges stepped aside but share their vision and their goals for a good newspaper and how it should impact its community.
Congratulations to the George family. Please know we share in your pride for your parents and grandparents and are grateful for the example they set on how to be a responsible steward of Demopolis’ community newspaper.
Jason Cannon is the editor and publisher of The Demopolis Times.

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